Monday, March 11, 2013

3/11/2013 by Stacie Roach

When I was growing up, my family would attend several Dodger games every summer. Besides ordering a chocolate malt and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", my favorite thing to do was look through my dad's binoculars. I wanted to see the players up close. If I could see the faces of Mike Piazza, Erik Karros, and Hideo Nomo, my night was complete- I felt as if I had truly been with them in the action. My young self was content with a blurry, few second glimpse, even if it was from way up in the nose bleed section.

As I've gotten older, my perspective has changed. Occasionally, I'll go to a game and bring some binoculars, but the experience is quite different. The blurry images I see no longer satisfy, and the longer I try to find the right lens setting, the more strained my eyes become. I strive for a perfectly crisp image, but I never find it. What I am searching for is simply too far away.

As odd as this may sound, my experiences with binoculars at different stages of my life are similar to my relationship with the Lord. As a child, God seemed very distant and unreachable. I went to Sunday School and said my prayers each night, but I was talking to a "Being" somewhere far away. Being young, I was fine with this- I didn't know any better. My perception of God seemed crystal clear to naive eyes, but in truth, it was cloudy and fragmented.

I was in high school when I realized my "binoculars" for God were out of focus. Instead of recognizing His nearness and desire to know me fully, I kept Him at a distance. The binoculars became a crutch--- I thought that if I kept my image of God cloudy and fragmented, I would be able to avoid my sin and utter need for Him. My thinking was that if God was far away and blurry, I might be just the same for Him. And, I did not want to risk Him seeing me any closer. It was easier to live in denial.

Little by little, God chipped away at the binoculars I had at my eyes. He loved me enough to not allow me to sit far from Him any longer. He left the baseball diamond and climbed the stairs to meet me in my seat in the back row. Face to face, the binoculars were of no use. God became clear and in focus for the first time.

Is the Lord out of focus for you? If you're like me, He comes in and out of focus depending on seasons in life. But, what I've noticed time and again is when I draw near to Christ, He comes in focus, and His will for me is much clearer. It seems like common sense, but it requires discipline and action. Neither committees nor church attendance, nor acts of service, can bring God into focus as much as spending time with Him. Face to face. Heart to heart.

As the author of Hebrews writes, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22).

Prayer: Lord- Forgive us for trying to keep You at a distance. May we draw nearer to You each day. Will You become the focal point of our lives, as we seek You and dwell in You. Be our focus. Amen.

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